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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
Psalms 87



Verse 1


This Psalm hath been very justly considered as a beautiful ode on the Incarnation of Christ; and, as such, contains the outlines of that glorious event, and of the happiness and welfare of the church in it.

A Psalm or Song for the sons of Korah.

Psalms 87:1

The very title of this Psalm leads the Reader to expect the discovery of some more than ordinary blessings in it. And what can be more blessed than to sing of him who was born, and lived, and died, and rose again, for the redemption of sinners? The title may be justly read, A Psalm or Song for the sons of miserable man; for such was Korah: and the late Mr. Romaine so translated it. Hence, according to his view of the words, in this first view, it is of Jesus the Psalm speaks, in whom the church shall be established. And there is a great beauty in this verse, that He, of whom the Psalm sings, is not mentioned by name! because everyone, taught by his Spirit, knows who it is. So the church, Song of Solomon 3:3. And let the Reader remark another beauty; the church is founded on Christ, the Rock of ages; whereas the world, the scripture saith, is founded upon the seas, and established upon the floods. Psalms 24:2. Pause, Reader, and consider how eternally safe and secure the one: how precarious and fluctuating the other.

Verse 2

Read with reference to Christ, this verse is most beautiful; for it is in Christ the Lord visiteth and rejoiceth in his people. Lovely as Jacob's praying seed are, yet they are so only in Jesus. The acceptation of their persons and their offerings is all in Christ. Ephesians 1:6.

Verse 3

Surely we cannot be at a loss to apprehend what is meant by the glorious things of the church, which is made glorious within by reason of her glorious Lord, and Head, and King. All his people are made kings and priests to God and the Father in Him; and hence they are declared to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; Revelation 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9. But glorious as these things are in themselves, yet I apprehend these are not the things spoken of; for they are rather the effects than the cause. The glorious things evidently refer to somewhat higher, which can be no other than Christ himself. And we shall have some faint conception of how truly glorious the things spoken of Zion are, when we consider the marriage of Christ with his church. What indeed can be equally glorious with the contemplation of the Son of God choosing Zion for himself, and uniting Zion to himself, forever? He is, saith the apostle, the Head of the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:22-23.

Verse 4

This verse throws great light upon the glorious things spoken of before. For the words are as if Jehovah had said, I will cause it to be remembered by them, who knew me in Rahab and Babylon, here was the man born. And who but Christ could be the man born in Zion, to be the Saviour of his church, which is his body, whether called from Rahab and Babylon, Philistia or Tyre? So Jehovah declared, when proclaiming it a light thing to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel, I will also give thee, said Jehovah, for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation, unto the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6.

Verse 5

If, as Mr. Romaine justly concludes, we may, without violence to the original, read this verse - "And of Zion it shall be said, A Person, and a Person shall be born in her; " this plainly intimates the identical person, God and Man, Christ Jesus: and this decidedly refers the whole of the glorious things spoken before to be of Him. Then the Highest, He himself, will perfectly establish her; for in Him Zion must be firm. Reader, what blessed views open to our souls in these precious things of our Jesus!

Verse 6

As Jesus is the first-born among many brethren, so when Zion's sons are registered, Jehovah himself, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall record it indeed, it hath been recorded, that here was the man born. In Jesus redemption began; in Jesus redemption is completed; and in Jesus the people, his people, are beheld and blessed forever.

Verse 7

This is the just and unavoidable conclusion of all that went before. There can be no source, no spring, no fountain, but in Jesus. Everything of life, and light, and salvation, grace here, glory hereafter; all are in Christ: not only from Christ, but in Christ. A God incarnate must be the only possible source of blessedness, both now and forever. Oh! what a thought, to comfort the soul under all barrenness, deadness, and languishing frames whatever.


MY soul! what sayest thou to this blessed Psalm, as to thy personal experience of the glorious things contained in it? Most plain and evident it is, that the foundation upon which the temple, as a type of Christ, is founded, is Christ Jesus. Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, Jesus Christ. But, my soul, art thou founded in him? and are all thy fresh springs in Him? See the foundation of everything out of Christ! Look into houses, families, churches: if Christ be not the rock, on which every individual is built, how shall it be said of any, when Jehovah counts, and writes up the people, that this Man, even Jesus, was born in that soul? How shall that promise of Jesus be fulfilled: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God: and I will write upon him my new name! - And, my soul, see to it, as an evidence of these precious glorious things, that all thy resources, all thy happiness, grace, righteousness, joy, glory, be all in Jesus, and flowing from him alone, in all thy refreshments.

Oh! ye elder brethren, the Jews; ye that are the descendants of Zion, behold Him, concerning whom Jehovah hath recorded, a Person and a Person shall be born in her! May this almighty Redeemer hasten the time of his arising in Zion, to turn away ungodliness from Jacob! And ye, no less, the Gentiles yet to be called in, behold ye! Philistia and Tyre! ye, people of Ethiopia! see the register of Jehovah, This man was born. Lord! hasten the hour when Ethiopia, and Seba, and the multitude of the isles, shall stretch forth their hands unto our God. Amen.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 87:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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